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Delhi pollution in November 7 to 8 times of safe limit set by WHO, reveals Dyson study

Dyson's findings reveal that for exposure to PM2.5 levels indoors can be way more than in November than October.

twitter-logoIndia Today Tech | January 19, 2021 | Updated 16:26 IST
Dyson's findings reveal that for exposure to PM2.5 levels indoors can be way more than in November than October.
Dyson's findings reveal that for exposure to PM2.5 levels indoors can be way more than in November than October.

Highlights

  • Dyson purifier data from homes in Delhi showed a 38 per cent increase in PM2.5 levels over the same period.
  • The air quality awareness project is how Dyson raises awareness about air pollution in cities across the world.
  • Dyson used a backpack that it initially developed for the Breathe London study.

Dyson has come out with its new air pollution data recorded in Delhi-NCR in the months of October and November. Compared to Phase 1 in October, the pollution data collected in Phase 2 (November) indicated a significant increase in PM2.5 levels, with average levels rising by 459%. According to the data collected, the PM2.5 levels remained high indoors and outdoors, irrespective of the activity.

The data collected as part of Dyson's air quality awareness project involves a Dyson wearable air sensing backpack to understand how pollution is around us, whether indoors or outdoors. The company chose the time around winters as Delhi-NCR experiences higher pollution levels around this time caused by weather, wind direction, and local seasonal activity like farm fires.

"Delhi and the surrounding area often experience an increase in pollution levels in the November period, which can be up to 7-8 times the safe levels prescribed by the World Health Organisation," the report said.

As part of the study, a Delhi-based woman wore the prototype air quality backpack from Dyson to track air pollution exposure through the day. Some of the interesting bits that came out of the report were actions like frying food in the kitchen caused five times to increase in PM2.5 levels. Dyson chose Karuna Chauhan as a volunteer for the Delhi-NCR study to raise awareness about air pollution.

"The combustion process while cooking releases particulates into the air, likely contributing to this increase," Dyson explains.

Moreover, the study found exposure to PM2.5 and NO2 pollution peaked while driving on the Expressway. The company added that this was not surprising as these are pollutants commonly associated with vehicle emissions as well as brake and tyre wear.

One of the facts that came out of the study's findings was that the PM2.5 levels remained high indoors and outdoors.

"Compared to Phase 1, the pollution data collected in Phase 2 indicated a significant increase in PM2.5 levels, with average levels rising by 459%," the report added.

Dyson stressed that the pollution level remained high indoors and outdoors regardless of the activity taking place around.

Tracking Karuna through the day, the data captured also revealed that pollution level remained comparatively high in green areas like a city park. "...green spaces within cities can still be impacted by city pollution due to their proximity to pollution sources like vehicles and construction," the report added.

Another interesting thing that came out of the study was that aerosol products like deodorant and perfume caused VOCs exposure.
For those unaware, VOCs is a collective term for thousands of different chemicals, often associated with everyday household items like aerosols and cleaning sprays.

Dyson believes that people can opt for non-aerosolised alternatives or keep the house well ventilated when the outside air is clean to reduce exposure to these pollutants.

Dyson engineers analysed the air sensor and GPS data from the backpack with Karuna to come up with these findings. This allowed the team to understand her exposure to different conditions.

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